Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 44. Ligbi Horned Mask, Côte d'Ivoire.

Avatars and Allegories: Property from the Estate of Pierre M. Schlumberger

Ligbi Horned Mask, Côte d'Ivoire

Lot Closed

May 18, 06:47 PM GMT


10,000 - 15,000 USD

Lot Details


Avatars and Allegories: Property from the Estate of Pierre M. Schlumberger

Ligbi Horned Mask, Côte d'Ivoire

Height: 12 5/8 in (32 cm)

Charles Ratton, Paris
Pierre M. Schlumberger, Houston, acquired from the above on July 23, 1969

The rhythmic patterning of this mask is visible both in its form and color. Topped by two solid, curved horns, the face exhibits a spirited expression. The hairline is delineated with ochre and white pigmentation. The eyes, semilunar in shape and lined with the same color pigments, open slightly beneath a broad forehead. On the cheeks are two incisions, also outlined with the deep red and white coloring. The elongated nose splits the forehead and face in half until just above the gaping mouth, which bears a full set of small teeth. This subtly expressive mask is a beautiful example of the elegance of sculpture from Côte d'Ivoire.

This anthropomorphic mask may belong to the corpus of entertainment masks. Entertainment masks were used in public settings and often represent or recall animals such as elephants, duikers, and antelopes. The creation of novel entertainment masks derived from new songs or dance steps. Eberhard Fischer explains: "a certain kind of face mask is always linked to a specific masquerade performance, i.e. a fixed combination of dance movements and steps, as well as to a specific accompanying orchestra playing specified compositions, albeit with constant improvisation [...] once a new mask was successfully danced by inventive performers, a new masquerade fashion was born” (Fischer, Guro, 2008, p. 265). The popularity of a specific dance, song, and accompanying mask could cause the masquerade to spread quickly throughout the entire region, and sometimes persist for generations to come.